Press Release | June 2, 2014

New Carbon Pollution Standards Present Opportunity for Clean Energy Job Growth in the South

Charlottesville, VA – The Southeast, which has traditionally lagged behind other U.S. regions in clean energy, can take advantage of today’s proposed Environmental Protection Agency carbon pollution standards and spur new clean energy jobs, according to the Southern Environmental Law Center.

The new federal protections—which set limits on the amount of carbon pollution that aging power plants can release—address the climate change threat, and at the same time signal an opportunity for each state to increase clean energy investments in energy efficiency, solar and wind.

“EPA has structured this commonsense proposal in a way that is very beneficial to the states. There are a number of ways to easily meet the standards and we will be able to customize a plan based on what makes the most sense for each state’s energy future,” said Frank Rambo, leader of SELC's Clean Energy and Air Program. “This could be a triple win for our region: more clean energy jobs, lower electricity bills in the future, and healthier families and communities.”

Today’s released proposal from EPA sets an overall target of reducing carbon pollution by 30 percent from 2005 levels by 2030 through state-by-state emission rate goals. States enjoy wide latitude to meet their goals by adopting new energy efficiency programs and increasing investments in wind and solar, in addition to individual plant upgrades.

While there are some promising steps that states in the Southeast (VA, TN, SC, NC, GA, and AL) have taken in recent years to reduce carbon emissions, the region continues to fall behind in clean energy investments and the related job growth. While the solar industry has exploded nationwide and now creates more domestic jobs than the coal industry, the states in this region have seen only minimal increases in the deployment of solar resources due to outdated policies.


The Southern Environmental Law Center is a regional nonprofit using the power of the law to protect the health and environment of the Southeast (Virginia, Tennessee, North and South Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama). Founded in 1986, SELC's team of nearly 60 legal and policy experts represent more than 100 partner groups on issues of climate change and energy, air and water quality, forests, the coast and wetlands, transportation, and land use.

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